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N. Korea urges S. Koreans not to vote for conservatives

2017/05/09 11:36

SEOUL, May 9 (Yonhap) -- North Korea said Tuesday that the conservative bloc in South Korea should not be allowed to take power again as South Korea held its presidential election.

In a move apparently aimed at intervening in the South's politics, Rodong Sinmun, North Korea's main newspaper, said in its commentary that the removal of the conservative group will be a shortcut to new politics and life for South Korea.

South Koreans on Tuesday went to the polls to pick a successor to former President Park Geun-hye, who was ousted in March over corruption charges.

Park, a conservative politician, is now jailed after the top court upheld her parliamentary impeachment following a corruption scandal involving her and her close friend.

Moon Jae-in of the liberal Democratic Party was taking the lead over Hong Joon-pyo of the conservative Liberty Korea Party and Ahn Cheol-soo of the center-left People's Party, according to the latest voters' opinion polls.

"South Koreans should judge the puppet group of conservatives, accomplices with Park, at this election, as they punished Park," the North's newspaper said.

Ahead of the South Korean election, North Korea's state media and propaganda websites called for preventing the conservative bloc from taking office and raised the need to improve long-strained inter-Korean ties.

South Korea's unification ministry earlier said that North Korea seeks to mislead South Koreans' sentiments and drive a wedge among them by releasing politically charged messages.

"It is nothing new that North Korea is trying to interfere in South Korean politics," Lee Duk-haeng, ministry spokesman, said at a regular press briefing on April 19. "North Korea should stop its anachronistic behavior."

   Meanwhile, North Korea's media previously reported results of South Korea's presidential elections in a short dispatch.

One day after South Korea's presidential election in December 2012, North Korea's news agency released a one-sentence report without mentioning the name of then-President-elect Park and voter turnouts.

"North Korea would not want its people to know about South Korea's democratic election in detail," said Kim Yong-hyun, a professor at Dongguk University. "It is expected to issue a short report on this election's result.

sooyeon@yna.co.kr

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